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Finding Latin American Books and Movies in Mexico

Sandra Leach is the Latin American Studies Librarian for the UTK Libraries. She sent this photo from La Feria Internacional Del Libro De Guadalajara (the International Book Fair in Guadalajara, Mexico).

"As the Latin American Studies Librarian I am responsible for obtaining books, movies, and other materials for the UT Libraries from Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean. This work is greatly facilitated when I attend the Feria in Guadalajara, where publishers from all over the world display their works that are published in Spanish or about Latin America. Continental and Brazilian works in Portuguese are available as well.

"Each Feria celebrates one country's intellectual and cultural aspects in addition to its publishing output, and this year's featured country was Colombia. I have attended FIL for about 15 years, and have enjoyed watching the event expand until it is now one of the largest book fairs in the world.

"Mexican school children and their families are encouraged to attend and they overflow the large assembly hall in the afternoons. Mornings are reserved for buyers to do business with publishers and book stores.

"The Feria brings authors and other artists for talks, performances and other programs. This year I got to see Carlos Fuentes, Fernando del Paso and Gabriel García Márquez share a stage with President Felipe Calderón. Entertainment fills the hall as well, with impromptu cocktail parties and mariachi bands drawing visitors into exhibits.

"Each year I try to travel to a different area of Mexico before or after the Feria. This gives me a chance to practice my conversational 'traveler's Spanish' and over the years I've experienced the rich and varied history, culture and arts of Mexico's diverse society and have been captivated by truly magical experiences with the Mexican people. I've been in the midst of local markets, farmer's protests, art gallery shows, election rallies, and student demonstrations, and each experience has enriched my understanding and appreciation of our neighbors to the south.

"For more info on the Feria visit As to the fire extinguisher in the photo, well, you have to know Mexico to understand!”


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